TULSA, Okla., September 10, 2012- The Tulsa Zoo’s newest jaguar cubs now have names! After nearly 2,000 votes, the public chose to name the two furry felines Kabah (K’abah) and Chac (CHaK). Kabah, meaning strong hand and Chac, meaning controller of rain and thunder, represent the jaguars’ geographic origin and rich Mayan culture. The top two names were chosen by the public via a survey on the zoo’s website.
The cubs, born April 22, are the first jaguars born at the Tulsa Zoo. While the jaguar birth is an exciting first for the Tulsa Zoo, it’s also a big step for jaguar populations. With only 43 jaguars currently residing in accredited American zoos, this recent birth was a planned and pre-recommended breeding by the SSP, or the Species Survival Plan, which monitors and recommends breeding among particular species in accredited zoos across the nation. Jaguars are currently classified as “near threatened” due to their declining numbers, which continue to be affected by human-induced habitat destruction.
The cubs, on exhibit in the Tropical American Rainforest, are expected to stay at the Tulsa Zoo until they reach a mature breeding age, which is approximately two years old. A future transfer will be managed and determined by the SSP and will prove to be highly valuable to maintain jaguar populations in zoos.